baking, best basics, birthday cake, chocolate pound cake, kids birthday parties, kids favorite, treats
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The Ultimate Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my son Matteo’s birthday and I made this cake based on a recipe from Giada’s kitchen. There are a few steps to this recipe, but they are all lots of fun – like making your own hazelnut crunch brittle (which by itself is a delicious candy and makes a great gift).

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cake ingredients and instructions

1 box of chocolate cake mix

Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake as directed on package. When done invert to wire rack and cool.

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hazelnut crunch and instructions

1 cup hazelnuts (toasted in 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes and rubbed in a towel to remove skins)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

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Place the toasted nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat until golden – about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and wait a few minutes until bubbles subside and pour the caramelized sugar over the hazelnuts. Cool in fridge for 30 minutes.

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Cut cooled crunch into smaller pieces and set aside.

filling ingredients and instructions

16 oz mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

1 tsp grated orange zest

Place mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla and zest in a large mixing bowl. Whip with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in crunch.

topping ingredients and instructions

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp grated orange zest

Place topping ingredients into a food processor; process until chocolate is finely ground.

assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on cake stand and top with 1/3 of filling; spread almost to the edge. Place second cake layer on top, even side should face up. Cover top of cake with another 1/3 of the filling. Use remaining filling and spread onto the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with the ground chocolate topping. Serves 8.

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